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US Navy seeks to replenish, bolster surface forces following successful Red Sea operations

The US Navy is trying to develop directed energy systems like HELIOS to counter low-end threats. (Lockheed Martin)

While underscoring effective US Navy (USN) surface-fleet operations in the Red Sea since October, Rear Admiral Fred Pyle, USN surface warfare director, acknowledged a need to not only replenish weapons stocks but also to find additional options to defend forces against low-end threats.

Speaking on 14 May during a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) event on Red Sea surface warfare operations, Rear Adm Pyle said, “Should we find a more cost-effective way of downing drones? Absolutely.”

The scale of the operations has indeed exacted a cost for the USN, Rear Adm Pyle pointed out.

“What our forces are engaged in Red Sea now we've not seen since probably World War II,” he said. “We're operating in weapons-engagement zone.”

Referring to the air and missile defence demand signal for surface forces, he said, “I don't think it's ever been stronger.”

As a result, “we have spent a billion dollars in munitions since last October”, he said.

The USN now must replenish the missile inventory, he noted.

“We need to increase munition stocks; we need the ability to reload,” Rear Adm Pyle said. “Those are the lessons that have been driven home, in both the Red Sea and Ukraine.”

As a result, the USN is looking at ways to rebuild its missile-procurement portfolios.

“If we can get to multi-year programmes on munitions, that's good for both the navy and industry,” he said.

The navy is refocusing its attention on missile acquisition. “We are closely managing munitions inventories now given what we're seeing in the Red Sea,” he added.

The navy has plans to recertify munition rounds, he pointed out.

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